Management / Leadership
Wally Cekala drives the mission and vision of Willow Tree every minute of every day, a job he comes by quite naturally. He has worked in the family business his entire life, having previously held the positions of plant employee, retail clerk, retail manager and vice president. As President, Wally oversees the administration of all departments within Willow Tree as well as charting the company’s future. Wally has a degree in Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University. His hobbies include spending time with his family, boating and playing with all the latest technological gadgets.
As Willow Tree’s Regional Sales Manager, Steve is responsible for identifying new markets and sales opportunities and managing Willow Tree’s sales team. Formerly Sales/Marketing Manager for Munroe Dairy, he is intent upon increasing the visibility of the Willow Tree brand by listening to Willow Tree’s retailers and consumers and engaging with them personally. Steve graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Business Administration. His hobbies include spending time with family, bass fishing, kayaking and playing guitar.
Few people know more about Willow Tree’s products – or Willow Tree’s customers – than Chris Cekala. Formerly manager of the company’s successful retail store and before that a jack-of-all-trades in the family business, Chris works with the sales staff to truly appreciate Willow Tree quality and the difference it makes in delivering quality products. Chris has a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University.
Like his brother Chris, Alex Cekala grew up with Willow Tree, working in various aspects of the business from washing dishes to serving customers to driving forklifts in the warehouse. While still in college, he took over Willow Tree’s accounting activities and became controller upon graduation from Babson College. Alex generates financial and accounting perspective for all departments within Willow Tree and assists in corporate strategy and development. His hobbies include boating, skiing, traveling and anything to do with Boston sports.
As Willow Tree’s Operations Manager, Steve is responsible for overall production, quality control and distribution of Willow Tree products, in addition to maximizing the performance of the company’s professional staff. Happy to be working for a growing company that has always prized quality, Steve formerly held executive positions at Hans Kissle and Trio’s Pasta. He has a BS in Food Science from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and an MBA from Suffolk University.
Erik D. Spas
As Willow Tree’s Plant Manager, Erik oversees activities concerned with development, design, construction, modification, and maintenance of equipment, machinery and facilities. Formerly an operations manager at Seafreeze Ltd., Erik has an AS in Electrical Mechanical and a BS in International Business. His interests include spending time with his family and watching New England sports, car and motorcycle racing.
As Quality Control Manager, Jeremy ensures that all Willow Tree products meet or exceed all USDA and industry-mandated food safety and quality standards. His goal is to guarantee that every Willow Tree customer takes home a superior quality product – every time. Formerly a Quality Assurance Supervisor with Del Monte Fresh Produce, Jeremy has a BS in Food Science and is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists.
As Manager of Willow Tree’s signature retail location in North Attleboro, Rebecca is responsible for all retail store operations, including inventory and staff management. She sees to it that the store is always inviting and easy to shop, the salads are fresh, and everything is ready for her customers. Rebecca was previously employed at Marshall’s. Her hobbies include shopping, reading and playing with her dog Kelbi and her cat Scruff.